This afternoon, I went to an inspiring lecture by Joshua Kwesi Aikins as a part of a two-day lecture series for graduate students at Institute of African Studies at University of Ghana. These were some of the free and open source softwares that were recommended. I have ordered them in what I feel is the order of importance to my research endeavor.
1. Zotero. Keep all you references handy. Add more by “harvesting” bibliographic info from websites (like Amazon, Google Scholar etc.). Insert references into any document and by the click of a button add bibliography or change referencing format. Just as all open source software, there is plenty of information online on how to get started, see for instance this Zotero guide. Amazing!
2. LimeSurvey. A free tool you can use to create online surveys (they can also easily be printed). The basic results are immediately visible, and if you want to do regressions etc. LimeSurvey exports to the most common statistics programs (also as free and open software). Fantastic!
3.RQDA. A software that enhances and facilitates qualitative research. RQDA lets you work with text documents (for instance transcribed interviews) and code them. Then you can sort your coded text fragments and analyze or even make a quantitative analysis of them. Wonderful!
These were just a few of those mentioned, but on my top list to download (I am already using Zotero).
Update: The Academic Productivity blog has more software tips.
What free and open softwares would you add to the list?